Appearances might be deceiving, as a few famous suicides have taught us. Too often, a public figure or celebrity who looked like they had it all in order surprised the world by taking their own lives.
Faced with their hurdles, most famous suicides still have something in common; depression, devastation, and the media circus that followed. Famous suicides like Robin Williams or Kurt Cobain tell us a lot about how much people suffer in secret from mental health-related problems.
Death is every man’s biggest fear. Our instinct is to survive and even crave immortality. People who commit suicide have lost their will to fight, believing that death is the only way out and that they are doing others a favor by removing themselves from their lives. It’s always hard to imagine what drives people to commit suicide, especially when we think we know them very well.
The reasons why people commit suicide are endless. Maybe it was due to long-term depression, or a terminal illness, whatever it is; it doesn’t reduce the pain these deaths leave in the heart of their loved ones.
Some famous suicides were so gruesome that they still make the public wonder just how much torment these celebrities were going through to choose to end the way they did.
The sad truth about most of these famous suicides is that we may never understand their reasons or how they felt. But it has taught us that we should be careful with our words and action when dealing with others.
Most Gruesome, Famous Suicides
Some suicides still leave a bad taste even after many years have gone by. The method they took to end their lives and the stories behind it explains a lot about how far humans can go to gain “eternal peace.”
Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 27th of October, 1932. She was a US poet, storyteller, and novelist. As a young woman, Plath excelled in her academics. During her third year in college, she became a guest editor for the highly regarded magazine Mademoiselle in New York City. But these accomplishments didn’t prevent Sylvia from going into severe depression.
According to the people who knew her, Sylvia was depressed most of her adult life. She spent a lot of time under psychiatric care after several suicide attempts.
Before Sylvia killed herself, she had overdosed and even driven her car into the river in an attempt to take her life. She killed herself in 1963 at the age of thirty by putting her head in an oven in her London home with her two children nearby.
Stephanie was an African- American author and model. She was the first Playmate model to ever come out as a lesbian. Six years later, she got married to Charles V. Nicholai, a chiropractor from Manhattan. They have a son together, Vincent.
In 2017, nearly seven years after their marriage, they filed for a divorce and began a nasty battle over child custody of their son. On May 18th, 2018, Adams just got off the phone with her husband and his lawyer, who were preventing her from taking a trip with her son.
She checked into a hotel, pushed her 7-year-old son out of the window of the twenty-fifth floor, then jumped herself.
Woolf was an English writer born in an affluent family in South Kensington, London. She suffered from mental health issues almost throughout her life.
When she lost her mother at the age of 13, she began having severe mood swings, which made most people around her think she was mad. She was suffering from a severe case of bipolar disorder.
Woolf grew up in an unstable home. With a depressed father and an absent mother, she grew up with a tremendous sense of insecurity and fear.
Virginia Woolf was sexually molested at the age of six. This was a significant cause of Woolf’s mental health issues. She later met Leonard Woolf in 1912 and fell in love with this British-born author, but even that was not enough to save her from the voices that screamed in her head.
After many years of battling over control for her sanity, Woolf drowned herself by overloading her coats with stones and jumping in a river not far from her home.
His birth name was Kimitake Hiraoka before he chose his pen name at 16. He hailed from Nagazumi-Cho in Tokyo City. His father was a government official who believed in stern and military discipline. His father, Azusa, initially forbade him from writing stories, making him write them in secret.
Yukio was considered the leading contender for the Noble Prize in Literature, later won by Yasunari Kawabata, his mentor. Mishima was a prolific writer, professional bodybuilder, martial artist, singer, and occasional film director. In August 1970, he featured on the cover of New York Times Magazine, and in less than four months, Mishima was dead.
Because of his strong political views and activities, Mishima was known as a controversial figure. He was a proud man of culture and tradition and was against the western style Japan was adapting to after the war.
On the 25th of November, 1970, Mishima and four other of his society members attempted a coup. They took the commandant of the military base hostage and tried to win public support but failed.
Later that day, he committed suicide by seppuku, a traditional death associated with the samurai. He disemboweled himself with his sword.
Heaven’s Gate Mass Suicide
In March 1997, 39 people were found dead in a large house near San Diego. The police later figured out it was a mass suicide.
They all belonged to a religious cult, Heaven’s gate, led by a music professor, Marshall Applewhite, also known as Do.
Applewhite convinced these members that suicide would allow them to enter a whole new level of existence through an imaginary spaceship while abandoning their earthly bodies.
They killed their selves by combining alcohol and Phenobarbital with apple pudding. The detective found their bodies on March 26th in matching dark clothes and Nike sneakers on bunk beds. They were found suffocated with plastic bags around their heads covered in purple cloth.
In their pockets, a $5 bill and three quarter was found, which former members said had a symbolic meaning.
Peg was born Millicent Lillian “Peg” Entwistle. She was originally from Wales but later moved to America with her uncle after the tragic death of her parents.
At the age of 17, she started auditioning for roles in Hollywood. In 1932, she got her first and only major role in the movie Thirteen Women that aired few months after she died.
Peg left her uncle’s house on the night of September 16 after telling him she was meeting up with some friends nearby. Two days later, her body was discovered by a woman hiking below the Hollywood sign.
The 24-year-old actress used a maintenance ladder to climb to the top of the letter H on the Hollywood sign and jumped off.
Speculation is she did it because of the stress and frustration that came with rejection and failure as a Hollywood actress. Her suicide note became famous last words.
“I am afraid I am a coward, and I am sorry for many things,” Peg wrote. “If I had only done this long ago, I could have saved a lot of pain.”
A day after her death, a letter arrived in her uncle’s house. She was offered a lead role about a woman who committed suicide.
On May 1st, 1947, an American bookkeeper committed suicide from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. Her suicide photography taken by a student, Robert Wiles, instantly made him famous, being named “the most beautiful suicide.” Ben Cosgrove, a journalist in Time magazine, commended the photos saying she appeared to be “sleeping” and “at rest” rather than dead.
Not much was known about this woman until she was identified by her sister, Helen. She came to visit her fiancé, Barry Rhodes, a day before her death.
According to Rhodes, he didn’t notice any indication that she was suicidal before leaving the house that day. A suicide note was later found explaining that she didn’t feel like she would be a good wife to Rhodes, and he was better off without her. She was afraid she would become like her mother, who suffered from depression which led to the failure in her marriage.
She also requested to be cremated with no memorial service or grave.